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Saturday, September 26, 2009

JSOTF-P and AFP treat hundreds of patients at MEDCAP in Zamboanga

By Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly
Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines Public Affairs

090926-N-1008D-003 ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (Sept. 26, 2009) Col. Walter Cayce, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines command surgeon, provides basic medical care during a Medical Civic Action Program in the Campo Islam barangay in Zamboanga Sept. 26. JSOTF-P, working side-by-side with AFP counterparts, local government and health officials provided medical services to more than 600 patients in the Campo Islam barangay. (JSOTF-P photo by Mass Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly/released)

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines and members of Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines, working side-by-side with regional health officials, treated more than 600 patients during a Medical Civil Action Program Sept. 26 at the Cambo Islam barangay.

The MEDCAP was a collaborative effort among numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations, including Naval Forces Western Mindanao, Western Mindanao Command, 3rd Air Division, Camp Navarro General Hospital, 1306th Dental Dispensary, Naval Task Group “Central” 4th Civil Relations Group and local officials and health officers.

Amid torrential rain falls, numerous patients received dental extractions, circumcisions and were treated for other minor ailments. The city of Zamboanga provided the spaces for the medical teams to work in collaboration with John Spirig, Sr. Memorial Elementary School via the use of classrooms, tables, audio visual equipment and staging areas. Many of the school’s faculty members were on-hand, showing their support for the local community. The teachers normally work Saturdays, but instead hosted this event, enabling hundreds to receive medications, surgical procedures and routine care.

“We are really very, very grateful to the Naval forces, American forces for giving us assistance in terms of medical and dental. A lot of medicines were given today,” said Hadja Sarifa Muin Harvey, officer in charge of the elementary school.

Campo Islam was assessed by leaders at WESTMINCOM to be an area in need of these services.

“Before we conduct activities like this, we check the profile of the barangay or the target area. In this particular barangay, we looked into individual services that this community lacks and then provided services,” said Maj. Tauaon Macaumbos, organizer and civil military operations group commander, WESTMINCOM.

For Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Lashawn Jones, the project was especially meaningful.

“This project helps me see first-hand why we are here and how we can work with all of our partners to provide the Filippino people with a better way of life. For me it was very rewarding and gratifying that we could be here to do this,” said Jones.

Coloring and comic books, crayons, and candy were handed out to the children as they waited for their care. A few impromptu dance and singing performances also aided in supplying entertainment as people waited for treatment.

“The presence of the military doing this kind of thing is very good. It will promote understanding between the community and the military. This shows that the military is taking care of us,” said Datu Ahmad Narzad K. Sampang, barangay chairman.

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